Many consumers consider their pets as close members of the family, and shopping behaviors reflect this sentiment. According to a 2015 Nielsen survey, close to 65 percent of those polled (a large percentage of whom were Millennials and GenXers) bought holiday gifts for their pets, and during 2014, more than $385 million was spent on pet toys (http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/nothing-is-too-good-for-fido-pets-that-have-it-all.html). Various projections for 2015 showed that spending on non-essential items for pets was to increase over previous years, though final numbers have not yet been released.
With that in mind, what were a few of the hottest pet items from this past year? Here’s the list:
Pet Care: Increasingly, products focusing on the health and comfort of pets are growing in popularity. Among the more popular items were:
- Memory foam beds and sleeping mats with heating/cooling technology
- Dental care treats and toys, like Nylabone’s Dental Chew Bristle Brushes (www.nylabone.com)
- Organic treats
Toys and Interactives: Playtime is essential for a pet’s (and owner’s) happiness. A bored pet can be a destructive one. Playtime interaction between owner and pet increases the familial bond as well.
- DVDs to entertain pets while owners are away
- Toys for playing fetch, such as Petmate’s Chuckit! Ultra Sling (www.petmate.com), or Kurgo’s Skipping Stones (www.kurgo.com)
- Treat-dispensing toys, like those by Kong (www.kongcompany.com) or like the Can Toy (www.can-toy.com)
- Laser pointers
Personalization: Many consumers view their pets as an extension of themselves, and reflect their personalities in the accessories they buy. Collars and leashes in various prints and patterns, screen-printed T-shirts, sweaters, jackets, costumes, and even temporary pet-safe fur coloring and stencils.